How long do Beauty Products and Skincare Products Last?


Beauty ProductsRight, hands up! Who’s got a makeup bag bulging with products that are probably hardly used or even a bathroom cabinet full of bottles of cleansers and moisturisers half used or even unused!

Yes we all have one containing a mountain of must have bargains, impulse buys or even the 2-4-1 deals.

But, before you reuse that lipstick or that pot of moisturiser that’s been hidden in your makeup bag or back of the cabinet, or, worse still, since the 80’s, have you ever thought about whether they are still ok to use?

Well, just like food, beauty products have a variety of use by, sell by and expiry dates so here’s a little guidance on what to keep and what to bin.

And just remember that when it comes to the shelf life of food, most of us are extremely cautious. So apply the same logic to make up and skincare and pay attention to the expiration dates of your trusty lotions and potions.

After all, you wouldn’t eat something that’s well past its sell by date, so why on earth put something on your face and body that’s out of date !

So why not brace yourself for a good old de-clutter and spring clean and get that makeup bag and bathroom cabinet cleared out.


Here’s a few reasons why you should have another look at all those beauty products you have:

  1. Contrary to belief, beauty products can have an expiry date! This will vary from product to product, for example mascaras tend to last for around three months, whilst liquid foundations can last for up to six. No this is not a manufacturer’s ploy to get you back buying more, there are actually valid reasons why you should be aware. Many products that expire after use may not guarantee to be as effective e.g. products with SPF or anti-ageing products.
  2. Our skin and hair and the air around us is contaminated with bacteria, yeasts and moulds – sticking fingers into pots transfers these into the pots. Although most micro-organisms are harmless, some can spoil your products and continued use of a spoiled product could lead to skin irritations or even infections in broken or sensitive skin – use a spatula to remove product and keep fingers out of pots or look for products in squeezable containers. Never ever put product back in pots.
  3. Cosmetics and makeup are made to resist everyday exposure to micro-organisms long enough to ensure so you can finish using the product safely. The benefit of having 100% mineral make up in your makeup bag is that it doesn’t harbour germs or bacteria.
  4. The ‘period after opening’ labelling is not a hard-and-fast cut-off time but a prompt to make you ask whether or not to keep or discard a product which you are using slowly.
  5. If you think a product looks or smells different then the product should be thrown away.


How do I know where to find expiry dates on my beauty products ?

Shelf Life of Beauty Products

Unlike with food and drink, the expiry dates on face creams and cleansers aren’t always printed in date form. Instead, each bottle of cleanser, moisturiser etc. has a symbol displaying a small opened jar and the number of months followed by a M (meaning month). This is the ‘period after opening’ (PAO) symbol on the packaging.

So for example 3M means that the product is good for 3 months after opening (subject to being stored as per the manufacturer’s guidance). So have a think about how long you really have had that product in that bathroom cabinet. But remember – regardless of the product’s expiry date – if it smells or looks dodgy, it probably is!

And if you can’t see an expiry date on your beauty products, use it within two years of opening or check with the brand you bought it from.

Product Storage

Pay attention to how your beauty products should be stored. If the packaging says ‘in a cool dry place’, try to stick to this to ensure your skincare goodies last longer. They will last as long as their recommended dates if you keep them away from heat, sunlight, humidity and air.

Remember that expiration dates are for guidance only and that a product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if the product has not been properly stored. So for example high temperatures and sunlight or where containers have been opened before selling may mean that the product deteriorates before the expiration date on the packaging. On the other hand, products stored as guided may be good for long after the expiry date.


General Rules

3 – 8 Weeks

Loofahs and Sponges – just think about the moist environment and all the holes where bacteria can grow which is why we insist on 3 weeks for loofas & 7 weeks for sponges. Some face cloths such as the Dermalogica Sponge Cloth suitable for faces and the Dermalogica Ultimate Buffing Cloth is made from a bacteria resistant cloth and lasts a lot longer than standard sponges and cloths and can be machine washed on a regular basis.

6 months to 1 year

Moisturisers, Face creams and Eye Creams – Remember that pumps are less likely to introduce bacteria and should be good for approximately a year but jars should be tossed out after 6-9 months.

Sunscreen – always expires after 1 one year. When not in use, store sun creams away from the sun to ensure your skincare product remains effective for longer. Buy new sun cream each holiday to ensure you apply an efficient sun cream every time.

Anti-aging or anti-acne products – can last up to 1 year, depending on the ingredients. Benzoyl peroxide, whilst no longer permitted in products in Europe under new legislation, if you still have some in your bathroom cabinet and it’s over three months since you opened it chuck it! Products with antioxidants such as retinol, glycolic acid, and vitamin C also break down more quickly so use up by using regular and don’t keep for occasional use.



1 – 2 years

Shampoos and Conditioners – when water and air that gets into the bottles this can break down the formulation of the product. You can still use 1-2 years if opened or 3 years when unopened.

Shaving creams and soaps – 2 years or longer if stored properly.

3 Years

Soap, Deodorant and Anti-perspirant – should last you 3 years but always check the expiry date, if there is one. Remember soap hoards bacteria once used so use it quickly or through it out.


Makeup and Fragrances

3-6 Months

Mascara and Liquid eyeliner– discard after 3 months and if you’ve had an eye infection immediately.

Lipstick or lip gloss – lasts for 12 to 24 months, eye and lip liner for 18 months and perfume 36 months.

6-12 months

Liquid foundation and concealer – 6 months to 1 year

18 to 24 months

Eye shadow and blusher and eyeliner and eyebrow pencil – you should get 18 – 24 months use out of them.

Nail polish – will go thick and gooey when it’s expiring

2 to 3 years

Eye and lip pencils – 2 to 3 years. Sharpen regular to preserve them.


So go on – spring clean your makeup or toiletry bag or even your bathroom cabinet (or wherever you store those beauty bargains) and ensure that you look after your skin health. It’s time to stock up with some new beauty products !

If you would like to know more about the ingredients or expiry dates in Dermalogica, Jessica, Mii Cosmetics or Sienna X products or even to book a skin care face map and to check you are using the right products please call or email Studio 8 Beauty to discuss your requirements on 023 92 380 692

Book Online / Gift Vouchers